The Revelation to John – Chapter 12 vs 1

“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars above her head as a crown.”

I know I’m making a bit of a jump ahead, but there is a reason for this.  On the 23rd September 2017 there was a planetary alignment in the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin or the Woman.  The moon, the sun, Jupiter in Virgo and the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars in Leo just above her head.  Along with 9 stars of the constellation of Leo this makes 12 stars above her head.  Lots of speculative stuff appeared on the internet and there are loads of clips on Youtube.  You might think you had entered the Christian Loony fringe or the Christian Twilight Zone.

For balance there is a good clip on this youtube site;

which shows that the fit to the woman in Rev 12 is not that good.

There is also considerable debate over who the woman in Rev 12 is.  Is she Our Blessed Lady, is she the church or is she Israel?

Still one other factor of interest to us Catholics is that this alignment, although it has occurred before, has occurred this time in September 2017, one hundred years after the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima.

What do I make of it?  At best I would call it a “coincidental pointer” encouraging us to look at and prayerfully ponder Rev 12.  At worst it would be a “huge distraction” if we were to spend too much time on it or read too much into it.  Hmmm!

I’ll get back to the second half of chapter one next time.

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The Revelation to St John – Chapter 1

I thought I would have a go at the Book of Revelation, the very last book of the bible, from a Catholic perspective, according to my understanding of what that is, as well as covering some of the other views as well.

Background.  Tradition holds that John the Apostle wrote the Book of Revelation while he was a prisoner of the Romans on the Island of Patmos.  There is some scholarly argument over this but I will go with it being John the Apostle.  John was the only Apostle to die a natural death in old age.  The letter may have been written around 60 AD, the time of the persecution under the Emperor Nero, or  90 AD, the time of the persecution under the Emperor Domitian.  If the earlier date is correct this may explain why there is little eschatology in the Gospel of John as it had already been covered in this letter.  For instance the Olivet discourse in Matthew Chapter 24 & 5, Mark 13 and Luke 21 is not in John.  John has a little bit in his Gospel in Chapter 14.

Now to get on with it…

First task – READ Chapter one

Verse 1 – Whose revelation is it?  Jesus (Hence my heading the revelation to John rather than of John).

Verse 2 – Whose testimony is it?  Jesus

Verse 2 – Who bears witness to this revelation?  John

Verse 3 – There is a blessing here and it is a three-fold blessing on those who READ, those who HEAR, and those who KEEP.  (This pattern of three crops up many times.)

Verse 4 – Who is the letter to?  The seven churches that are in Asia.  They are named in Chapters 2 & 3.

Verse 4 to 6  A Trinitarian Greeting

From the Father – who is, was and is to come

From the Holy Spirit – the seven spirits who are before his throne, some translations say seven-fold Spirit.  Note the seven, God’s number of spiritual perfection.  Seven days of creation – seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11: 2 (Don’t worry if you can only find six, it is seven in the Septuagint – the translation of the old testament by the Alexandrian Scholars from Hebrew into Greek about the third century BC).

From the Son – from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Can you see all the ‘threes’?

Cue for a song from YouTube

 

Verse 5  The essence of the good news, the Gospel, of Jesus Christ.

Cue for another song,

Verse 6 – The Common Priesthood of the Faithful,  Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC1546, of the Baptised – CCC1268 & 784, The Vocation of the Laity CCC897 & 898.

Verse 7 – When Jesus comes again how many will see Him?  Clue- every means every

Verse 8 – Spot the ‘threes’ again.

As a little aside you can see how the book of Revelation lends itself to praise and worship.  It is essentially Liturgical.  On this theme I would recommend Scott Hahn’s book “The Lamb’s Supper, The Mass as Heaven on Earth”.

Well, that’s enough for now.  I’ll continue soon and at this rate I think it’ll take a while to get through all 22 chapters.

God bless you